This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
This manual will teach you: How the role of service staff fits into the business What the role of a server is The importance of Service Standards in our business How to prepare for Service, How to take care of guests and what to do after guests leave What personal skills will be required of you
Before you start Quickly check with yourself if you can: Handle a tray with glasses on? Hold glasses properly? Carry plates properly? Set up a table? Maintain a table? Clear a table? Talk to guests? Take orders? Communicate with other team members? SMILE, SMILE, SMILE?
These are the essential skills that you need to learn – if, by the end of reading this guide, you are still unsure, you must talk to your Manager.
What do (good) Waiters actually do?
Waiting is a popular role, found all over the world in all sorts of establishments. At its most basic, it is generally to take and deliver the food and beverages ordered by customers. Depending on type of venue, he or she may also greet and seat guests or prepare initial drinks; later on, they may clear tables, do cleaning or other duties, such as bartending However, a good waiter knows that their role is much more than this – it is the essential part of providing enjoyment for every one of the establishment's guests. Good waiters have to know all about all the food items on the menu: their preparation and taste, any quirks or special notes about items, they must be able to make suggestions that make sense, recommend wines to go with foods and above all be able to do this with confidence and charm. They have to be great judges of character – to know how to approach and deal with a table, whether guests will respond better to a friendly conversational tone, or to cool, professional efficiency. Waiters make or break the guest experience – no matter how good the food is, people never forgive bad service. Great waiters make customers into regulars, which in turn makes a successful restaurant (and hopefully, great tips!)
General Roles that Waiters may find themselves doing: Set tables Meet and greet Seat customers and provide them with menus Provide information and suggestions on the food and wine available Take customers’ orders and pass them to kitchen staff or bar attendants Open, pour and top up wines, serve drinks Providing regular checks on the table for additional customer requirements Make up bills and present them to customers Handle money or credit/debit cards Clear tables and return dishes and cutlery to kitchen
This list is by no means inclusive! Personal Requirements for Waiters: Well presented appearance – smart, clean and neat Good communication skills Good memory Polite and patient Friendly, efficient and speedy Enjoy working with people Able to work as part of the team Prepared to work weekends and evenings Able to handle money
The Order of Service
Charm's Order of Service is the step-by-step guide which we want all our waiters to follow when dealing with guests. While you will develop your own style when interacting with customers, you must take care to follow every step in the Order, as well as keeping various Points of Service in mind when you do so. We have put the Order of Service down in writing as the key to good service is consistency. When customers leave excited and happy, that sets an expectation that we have to match and exceed for their return visit. To be consistent, everyone must communicate and apply a standard level of service (an excellent standard!) All floor staff must be present at the briefings. The briefing is the time where floor staff will discuss any issues about service, food, teamwork or any plans of action for the service ahead. Briefing times are 1145 and 1745. You must be present dressed and ready for service. Once reception has seated guests at their table, they are your responsibility – your primary responsibility. If they are happy, we are successful – and that is the aim of the game! Don't forget that first impressions are the strongest; we don't get second chances. A bad first impression will generally ruin guests' entire dining experience. Make sure you commit to memory the following order of service:
1. THE TWO MINUTE RULE. Approach a table within 2 minutes of them being seated. Even if you are busy or you are with another table, you need to make your best effort to greet the new table and communicate you will be right with them in a few moments. It bears repeating that you should NEVER forget a table has been seated. 2. Approach each table with a genuine smile, make eye contact, use the relevant greeting (“Hello, good afternoon/evening”) and give them menus, explaining which one is which. 3. Ask your guest(s) if they would like to order an aperitif, for example, a cocktail or glass of champagne. Ask the guests if they would like water (still or sparkling), and prawn crackers or edamame. Repeat orders back to customers as they order to ensure the order is clear. If you are unsure what a customer is saying, do not say: “I don't know”, instead say: “Let check if we that” 4. Immediately open the table tab on the EpoS system – select the correct table! Enter the number of covers then, order all drinks using seat number. This allows colleagues to deliver your order if you are busy. Double-check your order on the system before sending it to the bar. 5. Make sure the drinks are served to the table within a timely manner. All drinks will be made at the bar; all waiters must collect their drinks from the service area and present to guests using a tray. Always check your order ticket. Trays must be used at all times, even if it is only for one glass. 6. When serving the pre-meal drink, immediately check to see if guests need any help with the menu, or have any questions regarding certain dishes. Ensure guests are told about the spiciness of various dishes, any unusual ingredients, or about long cooking time. Assist with any dietary requirements – if you are unsure, let guests know you will check with the kitchen. On returning to the table check guests need more time or ready to order. 7. Take the first order (starters, main courses and side dishes) with position written on your pad as you will hand this to pass operators. Always repeat back each order as you take it: if you are unsure or don’t understand something, ask again for clarification. It is easier to confirm special requests such as cooking temperatures at this point rather than later. If there are any special requests, inform the guests that you will have to check with the kitchen if this is possible. The pass operator will check with the kitchen on your behalf. If any problems occur refer them to a Manager. 8. If the table is ready, this is the most convenient time to an order for wine. Once again, repeat back the order to confirm and avoid mistakes. 9. Order the dishes through the EpoS system according to seat positing, using kitchen instructions/free text for any allergies, special requests, or changes. 10. Promptly serve or top up wine/water and any further drinks that are ordered. 11. If guest asks for a second bottle of wine, take a clean glass with you for tasting. 12. Place on table in the appropriate positions any extra cutlery or sharing plates that may be needed. If guests just have main courses, set the table appropriately. 13. When you place food on tables, name the dish with sauce accompanying it. 14. Wait several minutes, then check back with the table. Ask an open ended question such as “How is the food?” - avoid saying “Is everything okay” as that usually results in poor feedback. Do not be too insistent on asking for guests' opinions as that may seem overbearing. 15. Only when everyone has finished their starters can you begin to clear dirty plates (except if
guests hand them to you if there is not enough space on the table). 16. DO NOT FORGET TO SEND MAINS AWAY THROUGH THE EPOS SYSTEM 17. Make sure all guests have the correct cutlery for next course. Clear any empty glasses or anything that is not being used e.g. empty glasses and bottles. 18. Regular visual check to see if guests need anything, but try not to be too intrusive. 19. Main courses should take no longer than 20 – 25 minutes, however during the busy periods they may take longer. Keep your Manager informed of any delays. 20. When serving main courses, check that all items ordered are present and correct; name every dish and/or sauce accompanying. Do not forget: “Enjoy/Enjoy your meal” 21. After several minutes again, check back with guests. “How is your Sea Bass or Curry Sir/Madam?”. Take more drink orders if needed. 22. Once everyone has finished eating, before clearing dishes, ask if they enjoyed their lunch/dinner then remove all dirty dishes from table. Do not try and carry too many items at one time; two trips are better than accidents. Clean the table with a clean wet cloth, then dry it with a clean napkin. 23. Always present dessert & coffee menus to guests – this is to tempt guests who may not have thought about having either into ordering. 24. Take dessert order, always offer tea/coffee, liqueurs and digestifs. Ask if they would like tea or coffee with dessert or after dessert. 25. Place order through the EPoS system, noting if customers would like coffee/tea with or after their dessert. Give the hand written order to the pass operator. 26. Place the appropriate tableware for the desserts ordered on the table. 27. Server desserts and coffees, etc. Clear dirty dishes when all guests are completely finished. Offer more drinks if needed. 28. Wait to be asked for the bill, never offer to bring it. Open the table on the EpoS system and check it before presenting it. The bill should be presented in a holder. Always place the bill in front of the person who requested it. Never present a bill to a table that isn’t yours. Always get the section waiter to check it first. 29. Stay nearby when they have the bill, but do not hover. Be observant. 30. For credit/debit card payments, you will need to fetch the payment terminal and bring it to the table. Do not take the card with you. When guests are entering their PIN, do not turn around, stare into the distance, or something similar that makes it look as if you are ignoring the table – look around the table, or make eye contact with other guests on the table. 31. For cash payments, always return with change. Never ask, “Do you want your change?” Inform guests: “I will be right back with your change”. 32. Thank your guest(s) and wish them a pleasant afternoon/evening. Invite them back with “Hope to see you again soon” 33. Some guests may need guidance to the toilets/exit; be as helpful as possible, as they haven’t left the restaurant yet.
Points of Service
You should also read through and absorb the following points of service – things you will need to know to be a great waiter at Charm, as well as policy and training notes you will need to learn. General Knowledge You need to know the full menu and correct cutlery changes. You must know all house beverages and their prices. Familiarise yourself with the wine list; taste whenever it is appropriate to do so. Learn some standard recommendations from each section of the list; if you are unsure, ask a manager. You will need to know how to open a bottle of wine using a waiter's friend, and how to open champagne. Conduct Great service is all about thinking like a guest. Things to think about: ◦ ◦ What they need at any particular moment What they no longer need
◦ What they may need very soon Communication with other members of the floor staff team is the key to a successful service. Things you should share with them: ◦ ◦ ◦ Special guest needs If you need help Location of the host of a table
◦ Billing requests Your uniform must include 2 pens, pad, waiter's friend at all times. Maintain eye contact, looking at tables is not enough. Never ignore a guest. Only two staff members should be seen talking together at any one time in the restaurant. If you do have to talk together, make sure you face guests to keep an eye on the dining room. Speak English only during service. You must not drink or eat in view of guests. You must not smell of perfume or tobacco smoke. Allow guests to go ahead of you in the dining room at all times. Hold doors open for guests whenever you can. Try to avoid interrupting conversations, joke or story telling – wait for the right moment. Never challenge or argue, even if you know that the guest is wrong. In the case of food or drink, simply remove it, apologise and ask whether they want to order something different. When you ask how things are going (“How is everything? or “How was the meal?”), listen to the answer and fix whatever needs fixing. Never say “I don’t know” without following with “I’ll find out” Do not lean. Hands must never find their way in to your pockets, or anyone else's! Don’t touch customers! Try not to "crowd" guests by having too many people at one table. Maximum 2 waiters presenting food to up to a table of six, maximum 3 at all other times. Never leave the floor, even if it is only for 30 seconds, without informing the manager where you are going, and how long you will be.
Service Etiquette Never pass menus across the table. Always go around to the side of the table. Try to approach from the right hand side of the guest. Indicate to other members of staff when you are approaching from behind, either verbally or by gently tapping them on the back. If a guest wishes to remove a jacket, etc whilst in the restaurant; always offer to take it to the cloakroom for them. Open all bottled beverages (with the exception of wine) before you get to the table. Pour all beverages for guests (unless otherwise requested by guest not to.) Never mix beverages at the table When dishes are presented, check to make sure nothing has been forgotten like side dishes, finger bowls, cutlery etc. Place plates down gently, verbally state each dish as you present it to allow guests to confirm they have the correct dish. Keep plates level, especially watch to make sauces and towered dishes do not spill out. Never carry more than two plates on one arm. If you are extremely busy, ask for help or make more than one trip to a table, to prevent any accidents. Always warn the guest if the plate is hot for safety reasons. Never stack plates on the table. Never clear more plates than you can carry. Plates are to be taken to the pot wash area. All leftover food is to be scraped into rubbish bin and all cutleries are placed into dishwasher tray. Be considerate when clearing dirties, your colleagues in back of house have a demanding job. Never clear plates from a table until you are sure that the entire party has finished eating. If you are in any doubt, ask first. There are only two exceptions: ◦ A plate has been pushed to one side by a guest ◦ A guest asks you to clear away their plate. When clearing the tables, stack and scrape away from the guest. Deliver plates straight to the wash-up area. The trays are only for clearing the occasional glasses. When a guest leaves the table temporarily, fold their napkin and place it on the table for them. Trays are the only acceptable means for moving glasses around the restaurant during service. Never place a tray on any table during service. Always check under tables for dirty linen when resetting, also remember to crumb chairs and the banquettes. Never leave anything on the table that does not have to be there, but always check when unsure. Replace napkins if they drop on the floor. Extremely soiled napkins should be removed and fresh ones offered. If a guest happens to break something, insist on picking it up. We are responsible for any injuries sustained, whether it is their fault or not. If a table becomes soiled by a spill, clean it as soon as possible. If it is very bad and it is possible, move the guests to another table.
Feedback Feedback is essential and if you hear any negative or positive points raised by a guest, inform a manager. If you get a complaint about anything, please tell the manager immediately. If you feel that a guest has been waiting too long for their food, inform a manager. Inform a manager if a guest should request anything you are unsure about. Do not assume, just ask. If a dish remains uneaten or only half eaten, always ask the guest if everything was satisfactory with the food. If they say no, or hesitate when answering yes but are clearly unhappy, inform the manager/head waiter immediately. You will need to know how to read the signals given off by guests. Any unfinished/returned dish must be shown to the head chef before it is thrown out. If at anytime you are unsure about something or find yourself in an awkward situation, find a manager immediately. If you feel that you have done something wrong, even if you think it is a complete disaster, get a manager. You will never be scolded for communicating.
After reading this guide, you should understand the requirements and traits that all great waiters must have, the way that we would like service at our restaurant to be carried out and have picked up on some points that will help you give the most professional and consistent service you can. If you are still unsure about any aspect of your training or have need some help with a skill that you need, please talk to your manager. They are not there to berate, but to help you carry out your job with enthusiasm to the best of your ability.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.